Army-NPA clash displaces 50 villagers in NorthCot

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 27 Nov) – Some 50 residents of a remote village in the hinterland town of Magpet in North Cotabato evacuated to safer areas after New People’s Army guerillas clashed with troopers of the 57th Infantry Battalion and Special Forces of the Army this morning.

Sr. Insp. Sunny Leoncito, chief of the Magpet PNP, said the fighting started around 9 a.m. at Purok-6, Sitio Tanay in Barangay Doles, Magpet.

The firefight continued until 1 p.m., the police officer said.

The evacuees, mostly children and housewives, are temporarily housed at the barangay hall of Doles.

A week before the fighting, soldiers from the 57IB arrived at nearby Barangay Pangao-an, also in Magpet, where they set up their temporary tents near the school, residents said.

The presence of the Army, a tribal leader said, could have triggered attacks from the NPA.

Magpet Mayor Efren Piñol said his office has already sent a team from the social welfare unit to distribute relief items and assess the plight of the evacuees in the area. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)